Social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook cause overwhelming social pressure. Quite often, overuse leads to overwhelming emotion and unrealistic comparisons to other people’s lives.
We should take a mental break.
An article from Time says, “A survey taken of 1,500 teens says Instagram is the worst social media app for mental health.” Instagram is currently spitballing an update that offers its users to auto close the app after a certain time.
Google already has some time management controls incorporated into the Android operating system. If you’re an iPhone user, the new iOS 12 update features something called “screen time.” This feature will analyze how long our social media apps are being used for and allow the user to set the time limit.
If brands like Android and LG follow suit, our society could be less affected by social media related mental health disorders.
We are a culprit in this as well. As a company, we partake in social media on a daily basis. Improving our personal time is a practice we want our employers to adopt as well.
People are constantly posting images of the interesting or cool things they’re doing. Whether it’s their delicious lunch, or their hashtag OOTD, or their insane their vacation, we see it. Instagram has become less of just an image sharing app with lots of hashtags and more of a competition to see who has the better and more exciting life. Profiles are judged by the aesthetic and the number of followers they have.
The sad part of it all is that most of the posts we see are only posted when people are happy, not when they’re sad or having a bad day. Simply put, it’s just an unrealistic look at life.
According to this article on Esquire, Instagram is going to roll out a new feature. “The ‘usage insights’ feature is expected to show the time a user spends on Instagram each day as well as their overall usage across an extended period.”
Snapchat first released its filters in 2015, and initially, they were really fun.
The progression of these magical face shape perfecting filters can cause us to feel self-conscious. Seeing the filter slim our face and enlarge our eyes affects our perception of our own traits. Some people are even going as far as to get plastic surgery to look like their favorite Snapchat filters.
So many people are doing it that a psychological term has been coined, Snapchat Dysmorphia. It’s that real!
There’s a story from BBC about a woman who had fillers injected into her face to look more like the flower crown filter. The article says, “55% of facial plastic surgeons in 2017 saw patients who wanted surgery to help them look better in selfies, compared to just 13% in 2013.”
Besides the filter craze, like Instagram, Snapchat is also a platform to boast good times and make it look like life is exciting. How many of you have gone on your Snapchat and seen your friends doing fun things without you?
Even though the term FOMO, or “the fear of missing out” is used casually, that feeling does cause anxiety. Staying in is cool, too! Baking your favorite treats or watching your favorite movie for the tenth time are enviable activities in our book. I pull out all the good filters for the cookies I bake every weekend!
Snapchat streaks are another issue. A Snapchat streak happens when two users snap back and forth for three or more days in a row. To keep the streak going, the users have to send a snap back and forth to each other every day.
If both users don’t snap after 24 hours, the streak ends. It’s become an obsession with teens, to the point that they start to actually worry if they are too busy to answer someone back. There are a lot more things to be worried about. To name a few: college applications, family time, excelling in sports, developing skills…
It seems like everyone on Facebook is getting engaged, married, in a new relationship, or having a baby. It’s hard not to compare our lives to everyone else and wonder why we haven’t reached those milestones yet. Those are their accomplishments, not yours and life isn’t a race, but Facebook doesn’t assure us of that.
We’ve also observed another common theme on Facebook, lots of people constantly complain and argue, especially over political views. You can’t get on FB without seeing something negative. Facebook really needs more positivity.
According to this article from Psychology Today, “People feel worse from using Facebook for 20 minutes than they do from browsing the internet elsewhere.”
If you are a Chrome user, there is an extension that allows you to turn politically related material off on Facebook only.
Social media apps can contribute to mental health issues and affect our sleeping patterns.
We have all become part of this “look down” culture.
Nobody is looking up anymore and paying attention to or appreciating their surroundings. Taking a week off from Facebook can boost your well-being!
It’s suggested that we should only spend 30 minutes a day on social media and go on a regular social media detox. This could actually prevent mental disorders. For all you iPhone users, try to set a time limit on your apps and see how you do with it.
Find out if you really need to be on your social media apps for longer than a few minutes. With the holidays coming up, it’s important to spend time with our loved ones rather than to be mindlessly scrolling.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling, try these things this holiday season:
- Have a real conversation with someone, whether it’s on the phone or in person.
- Involve yourself in a charity
- Learn something new
- Get organized
- Get active
Comment below on how you’re going to change your social media habits.